This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 31, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And welcome to a special State of the Union edition of "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Sean Hannity.
For reaction to the president's address, we go first to the former mayor of the city of New York, Rudy Giuliani is with us.
Mr. Mayor, welcome back. You know, that could be you one day...
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Thank you, Sean.
HANNITY: ... standing up there, you know? And there's a lot of talk about that. First of all, your initial reaction...
GIULIANI: It could be you, too.
HANNITY: What's that?
GIULIANI: I said it could be you, too. Anyone in America can be president.
HANNITY: That is true, doubtful in my case. But your initial thoughts on the president's speech tonight?
GIULIANI: I thought it was a very, very bold speech and exactly what you want a president to do. He was a leader. He set forth a set of beliefs. He set forth goals and things that he believes in.
And whether you're a Republican, like I am, and agree with most of it, or you're a Democrat and disagree with it, you have to respect the president for having a set of values that he's willing to stick to about how to deal with terrorism, about what to do about terrorist surveillance, about tax cuts, about oil independence, in his comment about addiction to oil.
I mean, the president is willing to set forth positions and stick to them. And I think the American people really respect that. And it gives us a direction, which is what you want a president to do.
HANNITY: You know, it's funny, because I had the same observation as you do. From the war of terror to his direct demands to Hamas to his challenge to the Iranian people — which I thought was great — not backing down on the Patriot Act or the NSA surveillance program, standing by tax cuts, saying, "Yes, I will appoint another Judge Alito," basically. Just, it was George Bush being George Bush, right?
GIULIANI: He was explaining who he is, what he believes in, and giving us an opportunity to agree or disagree with him, which is what you want a leader to do and what you want a president to do.
And I thought this speech was maybe even better than some of his others because I think it explained better. It was a good teaching device. He explained how his tax cuts have restored $800 million to the American people that they can now spend in a private economy and connected it to our economic recovery and our economic growth, which is something that he's going to stick with.
And, of course, most Democrats disagree with that. But that's what he believes in. And I think he's gotten too little credit for the growth of our economy, which has a lot to do with the tax cuts that he fought for and the Democrats so bitterly opposed.
HANNITY: You know, it was interesting. At the moments where the Democrats did not stand on some very pivotal national security issues, including the NSA program, and including, and specifically when the president called for tax cuts. How do you think the American people will see their reaction there?
GIULIANI: Well, it's essentially one of the, you know, great dividing lines, fault lines, between Republicans and Democrats today. I mean, most Republicans believe that you put more money back into a private economy, like actually President Kennedy did, and President Reagan did, and President Bush, and you follow that by economic recovery. In each case, that's happened.
Democrats seem to believe that it's much better for government to take that money and they're going to spend it more wisely than individual Americans. So that is a definite division between us.
I think on what you do about terror, probably you had the greatest division. You have a president that has a very, very firm resolve to fight terror, to use the weapons at his disposal to deal with it, which includes spreading democracy, surveillance of terrorists, using the power of the presidency to protect us.
And I think what you have on the Democratic side, including the response that I heard, is basic equivocation. They don't have a position.
HANNITY: I agree.
GIULIANI: You have, you know, on the one hand, we're for the war; on the other hand, we're against the war. Yes, we think we have to do things to protect us, but we really can't go too far. So I think that's a very stark contrast between a bold, strong president and equivocation.
HANNITY: You know, he, on multiple occasions, went after the divide, the rancor, and the anger in the country, politically the divide in the country, and specifically said there's a difference between honest criticism — he went on to say — and the refusal to acknowledge anything but failure. Second-guessing, he said, is not a strategy.
And then he also made sure to go out of his way to point out the successes in Iraq, for example, which is the area of greatest divide...
HANNITY: ... talking about, in just three short years, we've gone from a dictatorship to liberation to, you know, sovereignty to a constitution and now to elections. So I think he was really going past the political debate directly to the American people, which is right out of the Reagan handbook.
GIULIANI: Well, which he really has to do. I mean, day after day, night after night, basically, because of the nature of the way news is covered, you hear whatever went wrong that day. And sometimes that gets things out of perspective.
And the president, I think, got us to step back and take a look at, in three or four short years, what we've accomplished in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in the Middle East, where they now are debating things that they never debated before, have elections when they've never had it before, have women involved in government that never occurred before.
These are remarkable changes in a very short period of time. We've paid a heavy price for that. But the president made it very, very clear that that probably is our only path to peace in the future and the only way in which long term we're going to defeat terrorism.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Mr. Mayor, it's Alan. Welcome back to our show.
GIULIANI: Hi, Alan, how are you?
COLMES: I don't know if you and I heard the exact same speech. We certainly didn't hear it the same way.
GIULIANI: Well, we might have heard it through different perspectives.
COLMES: Different ears.
COLMES: What did you hear that was bold or visionary or new or different?
GIULIANI: Well, did you ever expect to hear President Bush say the word "addicted to oil"?
COLMES: Well, you know who's addicted to oil? I think the Republicans and their lobbyists are addicted to the oil money.
GIULIANI: I think what he was talking about is the fact that we have to strive for energy independence, energy diversity. He set forth a time period to do it. He set forth a program for doing it. He talked about alternatives, the alternatives that we have to look at and explore, ethanol, other things that could give us a great deal more energy independence. I mean, gosh, you got to give him some credit for that. I mean, that's something...
COLMES: Well, actually, I liked some of the things said about that. And I think that was actually the best part of the speech, but he did say some of those things in previous State of the Union addresses. He didn't talk about how the lobbyists, like the Abramoffs of the world, are addicted to money and oil money. And oil lobbyists writing legislation. I noticed he left that part of the addiction to oil out of the speech.
GIULIANI: Well, I mean, as far as I can tell, Abramoff did as much with Democrats as he did with Republicans.
COLMES: That's not true.
GIULIANI: And I think that's — that's sort of an institutional issue within the Congress. He did talk about doing away with earmarks. I saw my friend, Senator McCain, applaud very, very strongly when he talked about that.
I think he gave appropriate attention to the changes Congress has to make. If he had given too much attention to that, you would have said that he's trying to dictate to Congress how they have to handle their problem, which is not just a Republican problem. It's as much a Democratic problem as a Republican problem.
COLMES: Mr. Mayor, all of Abramoff's money — his money — went to Republicans, not to Democrats. But...
GIULIANI: Well, that's not — that actually is not correct. I mean, Democrats also got contributions from Abramoff.
COLMES: Not directly.
GIULIANI: Some of them even returned money.
COLMES: Not directly.
GIULIANI: Some of them even returned money.
COLMES: Let's talk about the war on terror. He used the phrase — you know, he didn't use domestic surveillance or domestic spying. He called "terrorist surveillance." Isn't he trying to reframe the issue by using phraseology that is not what it really is?
GIULIANI: No, that's exactly the reason that he engaged it, as far as I can tell. I mean, he did it to protect our national security and to try to find out information about people that might attack us and might be preparing an attack on us, in order to secure us, in order to protect us.
And I think, in this particular case, there's a lot of hypocrisy in the criticism of the president. God forbid there is another attack, and the president didn't use these measures when he could have...
GIULIANI: ... in order to find out about it. And I think, Alan, you know, on the Democratic side, they'd be the first ones to criticize him. And in that case, they would be correct in their criticism...
COLMES: Well, you know what?
GIULIANI: ... because the president of the United States has to have the courage to exercise the power of the presidency to protect the American people. I think Abraham Lincoln would have done the same thing that George Bush did. I have no doubt that Franklin Roosevelt would have done the same thing that George Bush did. And, frankly, they did the same things that he did and more to protect this country.
COLMES: Well, you know, Democrats are not saying we shouldn't use the NSA or shouldn't even do eavesdropping, or domestically, just go to a court first. It's not true the Democrats don't want to use those techniques.
GIULIANI: Well, I've spent most of my life going to court. Sometimes it takes a long time to get to court. The killing, or the murder, or the attack could take place before you can get to court. Sometimes bureaucracy intrudes in the decisions that are made by a court.
The protection of the security of the United States is the responsibility of the president of the United States. And if he believes that it's necessary to act quickly in order to find out about a possible attack on us, then I'm willing to give George Bush — I'd be willing to give Bill Clinton, I'd be willing to give any of our presidents the scope to do that. And I think the Democratic attack here is really purely political. It's not in the best interests of the country.
HANNITY: That's his constitutional duty. Mr. Mayor, we may see you up there one day. We'll be watching very closely in 2008.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
HANNITY: Thanks for being with us. Appreciate your time.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
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